Friday, October 31, 2014

Mary Hallock Foote, Author, Artist, Illustrator

HAPPY HALLOWEEN just like the Header says, and since it is Halloween, I decided to use my sketch of Mary Hallock Foote's headstone.

Mary Hallock Foote married Arthur deWint Foote in 1876 and followed him around the country on his engineering jobs, e.g., Leadville, CO; Deadwood, SD, and Boise, ID, and finally settling in Grass Valley, CA. She wrote her reminiscences in A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West and other books like Led-Horse Claim: A Romance of a Mining Camp, The Prodigal, Couer d'Alene and many short stories, including one about ghosts (see Ron Scheer's blog post of 10-30-14 at his blog Buddies in the Saddle). In addition to her writing, she was an accomplished Artist and Illustrator. There is an example of her work for sale at, an illustration containing a man and a woman, cost only $75. The Boise Public Library has some of her stuff in their collection and there is the Foote house in Boise.

Mrs. Foote was born in 1848 in New York and died in 1938.

Wikipedia's article on Mrs. Foote has more detail on her life and times and includes a bibliography of her works.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another First

Friends, Romans, etc., I've been reading a Western-like story set in Ancient Greece. In it something comes up missing, someone threatens to kill, someone falls in love??, and someone greases a goat. It's all about a missing piece of the puzzle that a young man needs to cure himself of a boil on the bum. The youngster with the boil is Tutor Timo and he can't remember the missing item to make his Auntie Aspic's Brilliant Boil Balsam.

It is all contained in a children's book by Ali Aardwolff (pen name of Georgina Titmus), Nugget's Bum Deal. Tutor Timo is going to kill Nugget the Chicken, pet of Colin Plato, who was asked by Timo to talk to his dead Auntie Aspic and find out the last ingredient of the elixir needed for the Boil Balsam. Colin must find the one scroll of Wiseman Hermit Tottle that told how to talk to dead people. But Timo can't wait and wants to use the only other tried and true method to cure a boil - sacrifice a chicken. And so he goes after Nugget with his pop's battle axe.

Colin finds the proper scroll on contacting a person who has died and gets his girlfriend (Iris Tottle) and his young brother (Gifted Doug) to participate in a seance of sorts. It is at Grandfather Yannis' where Colin finds Iris while the Grandpa greases the goat named Frittata.

I will not spoil the ending by discussing it here in case of ruining the story for someone else. I will say that I enjoyed reading this book for children and will recommend it to my great-grandsons. It was funny, inventive, ridiculous, and entertaining, a fine story for the young and young at heart.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spirits of the Old West, Vol 2, by Kathryn Kaye

This book focuses on ghostly sightings and other unworldly happenings in the West's most famous town - Tombstone, AZ, and has short bios of some of the main characters - The Earp Brothers, Doc Halliday, Ed Schifflein. Most of you have read enough about Tombstone, the Earps, and Doc Halliday, but I found the book interesting having visited Tombstone several times and seen the old buildings and corral mentioned in the book.The author, Kathryn Kaye, did some research to back up what she writes about and includes the references at the end so you can look them up and read them for yourself, if so incliined.

I recommend it for readers who are not familiar with the subject matter and give it four stars. There are some misspelled words and the context at times is not exactly correct, but it was a fun book.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Overlooked Events

I missed posting a couple of events in the last blog, so have included them here:

Oct 18 - Western Auction at the Old Trading Post in Casa Grande sponsored by Jim and Bobbi Jean  Olson. Well, what do you know? This one is over. Sorry I didn't get this one up there.They always have tons of Western stuff on the block. Only wish I could afford it, I'd like to have a .44 Colt to put by my bedside. Maybe I can attend next month's auction just for kicks.

Oct 25: Legend of the West with Bob Boze Bell, editor of True West Mag and lives right near here in Cave Creek. Great artist and illustrator and author of Western books. I am looking forward to this one at the First Presbyterian Church here in Sun City, AZ. That's next Saturday coming up fast.

And, and, and it's time to choose a health plan for next year. You have until December 7, or 15th, or 31st depending on your particular situation. I don't know about you, but there's a big change in the air for us as the company is no longer going to do it like they always have. You have to go look for it, instead of them providing it. I think it's in some way related to the passage of the Affordable Care Act which no one in Congress read before they passed it. I have no intention of reading it either. If Mark Twain and Will Rogers were alive they could have a great time with this one.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coming Events in Arizona

Here are some exciting events to attend in November:

Nov 1-2: 12th Annual Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Trail Run and Jalloween Party, Fountain Hills. Takes place at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park on the 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail. Aid stations every 5 miles.

Nov 1-2: 6th Annual FearCon Film Festival, Phoenix - FearFarm.  Showcasing the best horror cinema from around the world, presented byTrash City Entertainment. $10.50, none-midnight.

Nov 3-7: 3rd Annual John Wayne's Monument Valley Ride, Monument Valley. Four-day horseback ride in the heart of the Navajo Tribal Park. Includes horses, tack, wranglers, Navajo guide/historian, meals, "Period clothing" recommended, reservations needed.

Nov 7-9: 5th Annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, Chandler - Tumbleweed Park. Demonstrates 1880s Old West lifestyle. Teams from across the Western U.S., old fashioned culinary competition.

Nov 7-9: American Cup Championship Arabian Horse Show at Westworld of Scottsdale. A grat horse competition, uh-huh.

Nov 11: Veterans Day. Various celebrations around the State. Get out and salute the vets.

Thanks to Sun Life Magazine.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Trouble at Gunsight by Louis Trimble

Trouble at Gunsight, copyright 1964, is the other half of the Ace Double with Trail Drive.

Louis Trimble, author of many westerns, created a tense plot in this one. Set around the area of Reno, Nevada, at a place called Gunsight, his main character, Cole Pender,  received an offer to buy half of the Tepee Ranch and sets out with a herd of prime graded beef with his two ranch hands, Julio and Nito, a father and son pair of cowboys who would do anything for Pender. It is the area where Cole grew up and he is looking forward to returning to Gunsight Valley and the Tepee. He makes a quick trip to Reno and receives an anonymous note to stay away from the Valley and never return. Of course, he continues on and is ambushed twice as he nears the valley and runs into his childhood acquaintance, Chad Leeman, who warns him to stay away. He and Chad had a knockout fight that Cole remembered and never considered Chad a friend after that. Throw in a newcomer to Gunsight, Raul Horneman, and a couple of gunfighters, Riddell and Parker, and the plot thickens. Add his old girlfriend, Myra Callahan, and her brother, Allie, who has never grown up but is now a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Mullan and it gets thicker and thicker leaving many questions unanswered, like who was behind the ambushes? Who is this feller Horneman, who seems to be a friend of Myra's?

The story continues on and Cole is almost killed in the various melees that take place as he falls in love with Myra, and it races to an end with Cole's questions being answered on the mountainside above the valley in a gun battle to the end.

Don't remember reading other books by Mr.Trimble, but found this one to be just fine and entertaining. Recommended, a four-star novel in my internal grading system.

Friday, October 10, 2014

More Reading

Recently acquired a couple of novels to be added to the TBR file:

1. Dusty Richards' Ambush Valley, A "ride into an unforgettable tale of valiant courage and bloody conflict" it says on the back cover of the Pinnacle paperback. If it's as good as his Texas Blood Feud,
it'll be mighty fine reading.

2. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. This will be the first book by McCarthy that I will be reading and it sounds like a good one. Some of the bloggers have mentioned it as being one of the best, albeit bloodiest, novels that they've read. If it lives up to its billing: "seems to me clearly the major esthetic achievement of any living American writer" so says Harold Bloom of The New York Observer. Heavy praise, indeed, and I will see if it lives up to it in my estimation.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What Am I Working On?

I was working on a short story, but so many avenues popped up that now it's a long story. It's shaping up to be my ninth novel and I have a title in mind, but it will probably change. What happened was, I began writing this as a follow on to "Welcome to Dry Creek, Reverend" and it seems to have taken on a life of its own. A short story just wouldn't fit with all the things happening to the characters.

Bobby Chase-the-Lord, the Cayuse Indian who was found by Reverend Sweeney and taken into their household, has decided to leave town with a new character called Kid Ferry. Bobby plans to start his own church and make money like the Reverend, but the Kid has other plans for him. The Kid escaped from an orphanage when he was nine years old and has been taking care of himself ever since by learning tricks of the trade, e.g., thieving, lying, cheating at cards, even working in the mines, and he fully intends to pass on what he has learned to Bobby as they take the next stage out of Dry Creek.

They start out in Great Salt Lake and will carry on from their as the story develops. I hope to create something that will have plenty of action, humor, and drama and some suspense as these two "cowboys" live their own style of life. Now, all I have to do is "git" it down on paper, that's all.   

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Willa Cather, Author

Above is my sketch of Willa Cather, early American author, from a public domain photo. Born in 1873 and passing on in April 1947, she graduated from the University of Nebraska and wrote of life on the Plains in some of her novels. I don't know about you, but in high school she was one of the writers we "just had to know about," and O Pioneers! was the main one we were taught about.  But Ms Cather was known for more than just that novel, having written ten or twelve novels, one of which she received the Pulitzer Prize, One of Ours,  set in World War I.We also had to know about My Antonia. She also wrote poetry, short stories and essays which have been published in collections.
She took criticism seriously and maybe even became a little gun shy from it and refused to let her letters be published.

Will Cather has a lasting Monument to her life of writing in Willa Cather Memorial Prairie in Webster County, Nebraska. See the Wikipedia website on Ms.Cather for a picture of this and quite a detailed biography of her life and writings from which this info came.